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Farm Team: Embattled California GOP Eyes House Opportunities

“Almost every single member of the California Legislature would love the opportunity to serve in Congress, where they would double their pay and not have to deal with term limits,” GOP consultant Matt Rexroad said.

Orange County politicians — including state Sen. Mimi Walters and Curt Pringle, a former Anaheim mayor and state speaker — could run when Rep. Ed Royce steps down. Board of Equalization Member Michelle Park Steel and a couple of Assembly members from Orange County are cited as potential candidates when Rohrabacher retires. Assemblymember Marie Waldron, Assemblymember Rocky Chavez and state Sen. Mark Wyland could be future contenders in Issa’s district.

Other GOP state legislators believed to have bright futures include: state Sen. Steve Knight, who could run for McKeon’s seat; Assemblymember Melissa Melendez, who is expected to run when Rep. Ken Calvert retires; Modesto-area state Assemblymember Kristin Olsen; Central Valley-based state Sen. Tom Berryhill; and Ventura-based Assemblymember Jeff Gorell, who took a leave of absence in 2011 to be deployed to Afghanistan.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin would likely be a top recruit if she ever considered a run for Congress, sources said.

Farm Team is a state-by-state look at the up-and-coming politicos who may eventually run for Congress. Last week’s column looked at California Democrats. The column runs on Thursdays.

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